NIH Plans to Lift Ban on Research Funds for Part-Human, Part-Animal Embryos


August 4, 2016: The federal government announced plans Thursday to lift a moratorium on funding of certain controversial experiments that use human stem cells to create animal embryos that are partly human. Here is the link to the news article.

Here is a link to an article in First Things Magazine about the controversial subject.

The NIH is asking for public comments on the issue. I encourage everyone so inclined to post a comment, pro or con, The link is near the bottom of the article.
Here is what I submitted – I’m sure others can do a better job:

“I am not a scientist and cannot write a convincing essay explaining why these changes are abhorrent. However I suggest that the researchers first read “The Abolition of Man” by C.S.Lewis, world-renowned British theologian.
His essay concisely explicates the problems with tinkering with human beings as if they are essentially biologically manipulable objects. This is an affront to human dignity, even if these creations are destroyed before they reach the stage of birth. And it will not always stop there, clearly.
As a member of the public and a registered nurse who holds the dignity of the human person inviolable, I urge you to forbid the creation of human-animal chimeras, and not to change the Guidelines forbidding the introduction of human cells into animals and vice versa.”



This quote from a pro-research side:

It’s the same with reproductive tissue. Making male and female pigs with human reproductive organs would be cool and useful, but bringing them together to do something as mundane as producing a human baby is not – and would be a catastrophic result of the research that would probably lead to the shutting down of the lab and massive legal consequences, all to produce a totally useless result. Let’s All Make Chimeras

There are many ideas from this quote that express my deep resistance to this research. The language is saturated with pragmatic commodification. “Result,” “produce,” “useless,” “useful.” Producing human babies is not mundane. Human beings are not mundane.

Now, this may not be the strongest pro-research argument. But I do believe it underlies the real ethos. It’s a worldview which is ultimately horrifying and doesn’t value the human being for itself. I don’t entrust the future to such an ideology. Eugenics never went away, and I get the feeling that the cautionary side is simply being told to shut up and get out of the way. Which is ultimately what this lane of biotech research will end up doing; bulldozing over people.


I was listening to a priest and moral theologian about this very thing. He said it’s fine if they are using a pig embryo to grow a human lung, for example, and can save a life. However, producing human brain cells or reproductive tissue would be absolutely unjustified and unethical no matter what angle you look at it from.

Scientists just want to advance, progress, and advance. However, ethics have to step in from time to time and reign it in. Let’s hope and pray that scientists remain open to ethical arguments moving forward.


I do agree that if a pig or any other animal embryo is used to grow a human organ that there is not a moral issue. Unfortunately the research will not be confined to using animals to produce stem cells that will cure people. Embryonic stems cells will also be used.

It is important to note that the research that has been done with embryonic stem cells has not resulted in any medical advances or cures. In Israel embryonic stem cells has been used to treat people with terminal illnesses. In the instances when embryonic stem cells were injected or placed in patients there were complications that arose. In one case a young child with a terminal illness was injected with embryonic stem cells and at the very sites where the embryonic stem cells were place tumors had grown.

There is a natural order to this life. I don’t believe for one moment that God will allow a cure to be derived for one person by taking another human life.


In science, there’s the curiosity factor: to see what would happen, to explore, to figure out XYZ.

There’s healthy curiosity, then there’s morbid curiosity…


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